For most fans, Mariska Hargitay is Olivia Benson. The actress has been playing the character for so long, that the two almost meld together. As the seasons go on, many fans wonder just how long the show’s lead will stick around. Will Hargitay eventually leave Law and Order: SVU or will she stick with the show until the end?
Mariska Hargitay has been on the show since the beginning
When it comes to successful TV shows, there’s usually that one character that you can’t picture the show without. Hargitay has played the role of NYPD lieutenant Benson since the first episode aired in 1999. Hargitay has been the identifiable face of the show and an irreplaceable fixture. So much so that co-star Ice-T told Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, that he is not going anywhere until she does. Hargitay added: “We’re sticking together… It’s been such a crazy, surprise journey and gift.”
The show was recently renewed for its 21st season, making it the longest-running drama of all time. After the show’s renewal earlier this year, the actress said she was humbled to be a part of television history.
“I’m deeply proud to be a part of this groundbreaking show and humbled to make television history today,” Hargitay said. “The longevity and continued success of SVU is a testament not only to the show’s powerful storytelling and ability to connect with viewers but to its necessity. We have told important stories for 20 years, and we will continue to tell them.”
Mariska Hargitay met her husband on the show
Over the past 20 years, Hargitay has seen her life transform. Not only did she land the role that would make her career, but she also developed long-lasting relationships with several cast members. But the actress also has the show to thank for meeting her husband of 15 years. Hargitay met fellow actor Peter Hermann in 2002 when the actor appeared as a guest star on the show. Hermann played defense attorney Trevor Langan.
The couple hit things off instantly and Hermann asked Hargitay out after filming their first episode together. The actress later admitted that she knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with Hermann after that first date and Hermann called his feelings for his wife “love at first sight.”
Will Mariska Hargitay ever leave the show?
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#NBC upfronts today. So proud to call NBC home as we enter our 21st year. I’m incredibly honored to continue to tell stories that bring these issues out of the darkness and into the light. I have seen the impact that television can have on the lives of individuals and on society as a whole. I have watched again and again as television catalyzed change. #SVU21 ??❤️??? ?
It’s hard to imagine Law and Order: SVU without its lead actress. The show’s creator David Wolfe acknowledged this in a statement when the show got renewed earlier this year.
“As SVU moves into its third decade, Mariska has become an iconic figure as a star, advocate, and crusader for women,” Wolfe said. “She is an enduring champion of the movement to end sexual violence, and dozens of episodes have dealt with the very same issues that have shifted into the spotlight in this country in the past two years. Mariska is a delight as #1 on the call sheet and, to me, a true friend.”
Though there have been recent rumors that Hargitay would be leaving the show, she has signed on for the show’s record-breaking 21st season. And from the sounds of it, when Mariska’s done, Law & Order: SVU will be done. Last year, former NBC head Robert Greenblatt said during an event at Paley Center that the show would continue on as long as its star was on board.
As for the actress, she told E! prior to the season 20 premiere that she is making the decision about her future with the show year by year. For now, the actress is enjoying her role in front of and behind the camera. As long as Law and Order: SVU continues to bring in ratings for NBC, we can count on seeing Hargitay as Olivia Benson for many years to come.
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